Personal Trainer Certification Q's (Read 1165 times)

    Hi guys and gals, I'm somewhat new to RunningAhead... been reading, not posting. Used to post over at CoolRunning though! Anyway... I know there are some certified personal trainers on here, so I have some questions. Hypothetically speaking of course, say someone had two Bachelor's degrees. One in Music Education (BME) and one in Music Performance (BM), but was ACSM certified... would she have trouble finding work as a personal trainer, given she has no health-related degrees? I'm interested in becoming a personal trainer and getting certified, not necessarily making it my lifetime career, but maybe something to help me get through grad (music) school and pay the bills. And because it's awesome! But who knows where life will lead you once one door opens. I could become a personal trainer and realize, what the heck have I been doing all this time?! (I kind of hope I don't realize that though!) So I guess, in a nutshell, my questions are the following: 1. How necessary is a health degree to find a job? 2. Are there a lot of trainers without degrees? 3. Is ACSM the best route to go? 4. Would you please give me some insight on your own journey towards becoming a personal trainer? Your hows, wheres, whys. Sorry for the poor organization of this post, it's late! But I think you catch my drift. Much appreciation! Bella

    "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -- Leonard Bernstein

    The Greatest of All Time

      I can tell you that the majority of the personal trainers at my gym do not have health related undergrad degrees. Some have no undergrad degrees. Some have associates degrees. I can also tell you that a few of the trainers at my gym make a ton of money, but sometimes work 16 hour days. I don't know about certifications but most at my gym are ACE certified.
      all you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be

      Obesity is a disease. Yes, a disease where nothing tastes bad...except salads.

        hi there. I'm a personal trainer and I'm certified through NSPA. ACE is also a good certification and so is ACSM. I do not have a degree in health. My BA is in History and I taught on the middle and high school level for 8 years before I stayed home with my first daughter, born in 2000 and my second daughter, born in 2003. In 2006, i thought it would be great to return to work, in a part time way. I also thought that combining my love of teaching and fitness would be a great fit, and it has been. This is a wonderful job. You get to inspire people to make positive changes in their lives. I could go on and on about all of the clients that I have seen make some massive improvements. It's very rewarding and so many of them have become runners! So, I would definitely recommend you pursue this. I'd be happy to help you more if you need it.

        Gotta TRI

          Hi there, my hubby showed me this post. I have a BS in Exercise Science and teach the ACSM Personal Trainer certification nationally and for 15 years taught AFAA's Personal Trainer program nationally and internationally. So I hope these answers will benefit you. No you do not need an undergrad degree to be a Cpt. It is not mandated at all in most states to have a degree to be in the fitness field. As a matter of fact many health clubs still hire you uncertified and pay for your certification along the way if you stay on board. However, as teaching associates in the industry, we have forever frowned upon going in 'green'. I, for one, am ecstatic that you chose the creme'de la creme of certifiying bodies ACSM. ACE & AFAA and most of the lesser names, follow ACSM guidelines in our industry after all. The research is based out of your certifying body, ACSM! Nice job choosing this organization to get started. However, be a certification collector as your pocket book allows, because each organization offers a twist or 2 to learn from. But the base foundational science is all the same from organization to organization. ACE is this most popular slice of the Cpt pie, still to date. Due in part to the rumor that it is the most difficult test. But it had very few prep classes available nation wide until a few years back. So new comers to Exercise Science were failing it left and right causing them a financial headache to retest and suggesting it is difficult to pass but truly it is not. In a nut shell, there is no one better cert to walk in with but the key is EXPERIENCE! You will be hired as a personal trainer, no doubt, without that experience as they are a needed breed, but will do best financially to have experience (which of course plays into a degree in the field) and a strong knowledge base (which of course plays into a degree in the field or lots of certifications or a specialized area of expertise. ie: weight training or long distance running/tri's or nutrion or weight loss specialist) I suggest you go forward condidently with one of these to tout as your strength in the industry and research that aspect out until you can't research it anymore! :-) Perdue University is the first country to be taking on or has already taken on a 4 year degree in, yes you guessed it, Personal Training. So it will be more competive in years to come. Enjoy this life changing employment choice you have made. I cannot think of a better field to have been in over my 27 years!
          2010 Dec. California International Marathon 2011 Jan. Disney Marathon
            Marcus, Kimmie, and Andy - Thank you all so much for your responses. You've shed some new light! It's easy to say "I want to do something", but once you speak to people that actually DO that, or once you get a little taste of it yourself, it's a whole different ballgame. Kimmie, Your story is great and you hit the nail on the head for me - to combine the love of teaching, and of fitness. (You can imagine, that's how I got into the highly lucrative [ Tongue ] field of music education). For me, I also feel like, and maybe it's a little selfish of me?... but I feel that when I can teach or inspire someone, it gives ME the kick I need. For example, I had this one student once... the light was just not coming on for him, he wasn't a virtuoso musician or anything, but he liked playing. He had a really ambitious goal, to prepare a difficult piece for a solo festival in a short amount of time. I worked hard with him. He came back from the festival with the highest marks and sent me the nicest letter about how much I helped him and how thankful he was. He did all the hard work, but it meant a lot to me to know that I made a difference in a younger player. And WOW did that motivate me to practice myself! I can see easily how personal training could do the same for me. And sometimes, life gets in the way of our motivation, but when it's part of your life like that... just great. Smile and finally, Andy, Wow! Thanks for all the information! I've considered taking some college courses in what would be the equivalent of a Fitness Training minor at the university. We'll see if time (and ultimately, money) allows. Like I said, I don't have any intentions of stopping the pursuit of my music career, but I do like the idea of a pursuit of a training career. I feel that if I am going to go for a certification, I am going to go all out and go for ACSM. And you've definitely provided a lot of great advice! Thanks again!!!

            "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -- Leonard Bernstein

              Good luck on your journey. And consider doing both as career paths, nothing wrong in that. I know for myself, it's what makes each day more fun! I'm a massage therapist, dance instructor and martial arts instructor and I love it! If you enjoy what you do and feel you make a positive impact in others lives then go for it.
              2009 Goals: Under 4 hr marathon reach and maintain 125 lbs PR in at least 3 distances 1300 miles Complete my first Ultra
                Hey TTF: Here's a completely uneducated opinion, since I've never been a trainer or even used one. But I have known a few, or known people who did, and I noticed something interesting. Some who had lots of degrees and certifications didn't seem to do that well, and some with basically no real credentials made some great money doing it. And the difference seemed to be attitude, personality, and self-motivation. Specifically, I know one guy, who trains a couple celebrities you would know, who - as far as I know - has no formal training at all. But he's one of those super positive, really energetic, totally ambitious types that just markets himself really well. Admittedly he's also build like a brick house, has a couple decades of martial arts experience, and looks like a male model. Which all probably helps. I guess my point is that I think personal training is one of those things that if you've got certain qualities (or can learn them), you can probably have a lot of success at it - just like in most other pursuits, for that matter. And conversely, if you don't have those qualities, I doubt all the credentials in the universe would help much. Good luck with it! And keep us posted on how you do.
                E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com

                  Bella, I was a trainer fro 13 years had the Exercise Physiology degree and nutrition degree and ACE certified. ACSM is awesome. Do it! But do know, much of the knowledge of training comes from experimentation, reading, reading, reading, experimentation, more reading and having a Passion for the work. I was a top trainer yet my degree and certification gave me a small component of my knowledge but important component. There are so many things you need to know well to be "GREAT" - nutrition, supplements, power lifting, body building, injuries, athletic performance, weight loss, health/disease knowledge, fitness testing, VO2 testing, body fat analysis testing etc. Most of this info, I learned on my own. Some of this you learn during labs in college. If you have the passion and persistence, you can do this. Get clients, then get tesimonials and then build from there.

                  Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!